Jo Spence at Tate Britain

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Jo Spence (1934–92) challenged the way in which women were represented, and was a pioneering on the application of photography as a therapeutic tool. Drawing on her personal experiences with breast cancer and the use of performance, she commented on broader political issues. Her work is being exhibited at Tate Britain together with her collaboration with the socialist-feminist collective Hackney Flashers.

Where: Tate Britain. Main hall. Free entrance. Until Autumn 2016.

Conference: Owning Our Emotions — Emotion, Authenticity and the Self

21st – 28th September, 2016.

Institute of Philosophy, Room 349, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. Keynote speakers include: Professor Monika Betzler, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, University of Birmingham Professor Denis McManus, University of Southampton Dr Carolyn Price, The Open University Professor Fabrice Teroni, University of Geneva Dr Jonathan Webber, University of Cardiff […]

via Conference: Owning Our Emotions — Emotion, Authenticity and the Self — Mental health, Ethics and Law at King’s

Real Boy

real boy

Just saw Real Boy this week at the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival. It’s a beautiful documentary about the story of Bennett Wallace, a transgender teenager in California and his transitional journey through childhood and young adulthood, working to gain the love and support of his mother and to become a musician. The film explores issues on mental health experienced by Bennett and problems with substance misuse by another transgender friend.

Real Boy will be released soon and the trailer can be accessed here. People interested to bring it to their community center, college, conference, or film club, can email director Shaleece Haas at shaleece@realboymovie.com.

Architecture, nature and wellbeing

nature-architecture

The close relationship between neurons, beauty, arts, and wellbeing. How our mirror neurons observe other people’s behavior and perceive environment? The concept of therapeutic architecture and how a hospital can be therapeutic just by architecture and environment…

Interesting article by Maria Giulia Marini, an Italian epidemiologist and counselor at the Centre of Medical Humanities website.

 

Who cares for the caregiver?

Interesting film about the morality of the care industry. Tim Roth plays a nurse battling with the weight of his patients’ terminal illnesses and become obsessed about their lives, while being disconnected of his own past and wounds. Directed by Mexican film maker Michel Franco, Chronic (2015) shows a superb and enigmatic performance by Tim Roth.

 

 

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THE MAGIC BULLET

The German Jewish physician and scientist Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915) was the precursor of staining techniques for tissues, worked on the development of a anti-serum to combat diphtheria and his laboratory was responsible for the first treatment available for syphilis, arsphenamine. He was the first to coin the term “chemotherapy”, and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908 for his contributions to immunology.

Dr Ehrlich searched for a chemical that could not only  stain but also attach itself to  a germ and kill it, without causing harm to the patient’s body. He called them “magic bullets”, these chemicals injected in the body to fight diseases. After 606 tries, he finds a magic bullet to combat syphilis, arsphenamine (commercialized as Salvarsan) and calls this substance 606. However this discovery seems to be short-lived as 38 patients die of arsenic poisoning contained in the substance. Later his laboratory developed a more soluble and diluted formula, with less severe side effects. The arsenic compounds were  substituted by penicillin for the treatment of syphilis in the 1940s.

Ehrlich’s history is narrated along “Dr Ehrlich’s magic bullet”, a 1940 autobiographical film directed by William Dieterle. His discovery of staining techniques and the development of the serum to combat diphtheria, working with his colleague Emil von Behring, are remarkable – and indeed saves the lives of many children during the epidemics of the disease. Later, while working with good results with Sahachiro Hata on 606 for syphilis, Ehrlich (Edward G. Robinson) is forced by medical practitioners to release the drug for commercial use. He hesitates from a scientific point of view, but concedes in light of  the urgency of treatment. The drug is produced in large scale in Europe, and Ehrlich ends  up being judged by 38 deaths caused by 606. He is defended in court by his colleague Emil von Behring, who claims that despite these deaths, 606 was a success in many cases against a disease that was considered incurable until then.

Near his death, the world is on the verge of a war, and Ehrlich gives a speech to his trainees and collaborators in his bed:

“606 works, we know. The magic bullet will cure thousands. The principle upon which it works will serve against other diseases, many others, I think. But there can be no final victory against diseases of the body unless diseases of the soul are also overcome. They feed upon each other, diseases of the body, diseases of the soul. In days to come, there will be epidemics of greed, hate, ignorance. We must fight them in life as we fought syphilis in the laboratory. Fight. Fight. You must never stop fighting.” (*)

Virna Teixeira

(*) Peter E. Dans. Doctors in the Movies: Boil the Water and Just Say Aah (Medi-press: Bloomington, Illinois, 2000).

AR

We do not know how to renounce anything, Freud has once observed. This type of relation to the object indicates an inability to mourn.

The addict is a non-renouncer par excellence (one think of the way Goethe mastered renunciation) ; yet, however haunted or hounded, the addict nonetheless establishes a partial separation from an invading presence.

***

Discipline and addiction. Practice your scales. Repetitions. Bach on coffee. Berlioz on hallucinogen (but also on coffee and cigars): The Witches’ Sabbath, a concoction of Faust and the opium dreams Berlioz read in De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Mussorgky’s wine, Stravinsky’s cigarettes.

***

Crisis in immanence. Drugs, it turn out, are not so much about seeking an exterior, transcendental dimension – a fourth or fifth dimension – rather, they explore fractal interiorities. This was already hinted at by Burrough’s algebra of need.

Avital Ronell

(Crack War. Literature Addiction Mania. University of Illinois Press, 2004)